I was on a flight back to Houston on Sunday night when I overheard a man loudly complaining while we were boarding the flight.
“We made that defense look like the ’85 Bears,” he said. “That offensive line was softer than butter.”
Normally I find people who complain about much of anything at that volume obnoxious but even I found that a little funny. And that’s what Texans’ fans need to do. Take a step back and relax.
It’s easy to get caught up in the panic given the 29-6 loss at the hands of the Jaguars who were projected by most as one of the worst teams in the league. The offensive line was terrible allowing Tom Savage to be sacked six times before halftime, the pass rush was non-existent and Deshaun Watson came in earlier than most expected.
None of those things is really what you want to happen to start the season. But that’s what fans have to remember: it is just the start to the season.
I was living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the start of last season and I remember Cowboys’ fans thinking they were in for another long season behind a rookie quarterback and running back after dropping a close one to Dallas.
They went 13-3.
The Falcons, who made the Super Bowl last year, lost to the Buccaneers 31-24 to start their season largely thanks to a lackluster running game.
Atlanta finished the season with Devonta Freeman having over 1,500 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns and Tevin Coleman finishing just under 1,000 for 11 touchdowns.
So it’s easy to think that this is a bad omen of the season to come and while that’s always a possibility, frankly it’s just too early to tell.
Despite the already lengthy NFL preseason, it still takes the individual units on the team, like the offensive line, to come together and improve the team chemistry. There’s also a lot of shuffling left to do by the coaches in terms of positions and situational rotations.
Obviously a huge change to the Texans’ season has come in Bill O’Brien’s surprising decision to start Watson in the second half. I don’t think Savage was given a fair opportunity to keep his starting spot but what’s done is done.
Watson’s development will determine if the Texans have a chance to win what is looking like a two-horse race in the AFC South between themselves and the Titans.
He could end up playing like a rookie Matt Ryan and leads Houston to a playoff appearance or he could play like a rookie Carson Wentz and show promise but suffers through rookie mistakes.
Watson’s ability to make plays, especially with his feet, does add another dimension to the Texans’ offense and could cover for the offensive line woes should they continue. However, I’m concerned about injury risk.
We saw in Robert Griffin III what could happen when a young quarterback is thrown to the dogs that are NFL defenses and gets hurt early in his career. Texans fans witnessed it themselves over a decade ago in David Carr.
Playing Watson is a risk but again, step away from that panic button. The Texans are in a unique position where they have enough talent around the quarterback to win. They’ve proven that over the past few years.
So be patient, Texans’ fans, the season is a long one and we have another fifteen games to go. If that’s a good or bad thing is still far from being determined.
Tad Desai covers sports and education for The Sealy News. He can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.